COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Several current and former University of Maryland students are accused of assaulting a fellow student who wanted to join their group.
Weijia Jiang explains nearly a dozen students are under investigation for hazing.
Police say seven Zeta Phi Beta sorority sisters at the University of Maryland College Park violently attacked 22-year-old Lavisha McClarin — who was pledging at the time — in October.
On Wednesday, they were each charged with assault and hazing.
“Some held her down, restrained her; others assaulted her,” said Prince George’s County Police Cpl. Henry Tippett.
In court records, McClarin said she was pushed against a wall and thrown around by one defendant and punched in the arm repeatedly. She said one sister put an arm around her neck and choked her, that she was even struck repeatedly on the buttocks with an oak paddle.
“It’s supposed to be a sisterhood and that’s not how you treat your family,” said student Leslie Harrison.
Charging documents reveal much of the hazing happened inside an apartment on 20th Avenue, where two defendants lived. McClarin said it was there she was first told being assaulted was required to join the sorority.
“People talk about Hell Week as though it’s the worst week of their lives. It’s not like you can go in expecting it’s going to be OK,” said student Sarah Boccabella.
“I feel like you know what you’re getting yourself into,” said student Faith Clauser.
But McClarin said she was told the sorority stressed academics and that members said hazing and assaults were not a part of becoming a sister.
The chapter website lists “finer womanhood” and “sisterly love” as priorities.
The university has shut the sorority down for now.
Police expect to charge three more sorority sisters in the upcoming weeks.